ACCORDING to data by the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation, an average Malaysian household throws away food that costs more than one month’s salary.
Perhaps not everyone likes eating leftover food; and most people tend to throw away whatever that they are unable to finish anyway.
However, there are some who do not believe in wasting food and have their own way of dealing with leftovers. StarMetro speaks to a few people who have found enterprising ways to deal with their leftover food.
G. Parameswary, 45
Parameswary is a master of recycling food. The mother of two said that she learnt this tip from her mother, who learnt how not to waste food from her mother.
According to Parameswary, whenever she has a leftover meal from a big lunch, which she does not want to store in the fridge, she would mix everything together into a thick porridge and make it into little balls.
“I will then feed my kids, yes, feed them these delectable balls for dinner. I have been doing this since they were children and they love it,’’ she said.
“My children are bigger now, and they still like eating this way. I guess its fun to them,’’ said Parameswary.
She added that she usually mixes the leftover rice together with either leftover curry or dhall with some yogurt and adding a teaspoon of lime pickle.
Grace Chen, 45
Chen, a writer from Kuala Lumpur, says she usually finds ways to recycle her food whenever there is leftover.
“For instance, when I make fried chicken and if there is balance, I will use it to make ayam masak merah,’’ she said.
“I make sure that I refrigerate it immediately to prolong the freshness of the meat. My children love it since they think they are getting something different,’’ she said.
Chen added that when there are leftover rice and vegetables, she uses these to make fried rice.
Susiela Arumugam, 70
Sore vatal is a Tamil phrase meaning rice pickle. It is basically leftover rice mixed with salt, chilli powder, dried chilli, and cumin - all mixed together and into little balls the size of a ping pong ball.
“This little rice balls are then left to dry in the sun. Once they are completely dry, we will store them in a tin or jar. And whenever we need a snack, we just deep fry and it makes a good snack,’’ said Susiela. The 70-year-old mother of five said that this was the way things were done 50 years ago.
“We did not have a fridge back then, so whatever we did involved the sun and keeping things dry to preserve the food,’’ she added.
YP Hu, 67
Food never gets wasted in Hu’s abode. The 67-year-old retiree who lives in Kajang has many mouths to feed. And we are not talking about his four children.
“I have dogs, cats, birds and fishes. We hardly ever have any wastage,’’ Hu said.
Hu also feeds the neighbours chickens. “Whatever the animals don’t eat, we compost. It’s good for the household and the environment,’’ he added.
G. Athiletchumi, 41
For Athiletchumi, recycling food is something she has been doing for years. The mother of two said when it comes to Indian food, anything is possible. “Take idli (a type of Indian snack) for instance.’’
“Whenever there is a balance from a festival or party, you can use the leftovers by making uppuma. This is a very versatile snack,’’ she said.
“Or you could just make a simple dish with it by adding some vegetables and fried egg,’’ Athiletchumi added.
Sharlene Yee, 28
Yee said she keep the leftovers to be cooked with other food for the next day’s meal.
“For example, when I buy some yong tau fu, and I cannot finish the portion, I would use it when I cook a bowl of vegetable soup and eat with rice.
“By doing this, I am able to save money and I don’t have to think about my next meal,’’ Yee said, adding that she usually picks food that can be recycled.